If you’ve taken the time to read PS_ love, thank you!! Sharing your time and energy is more than I can ask for! Thank you!
This will be a little more background to our story, it’ll explain more of our relationship from when we were just friends who didn’t know if the other was flirting, to just letting things out into the open.
As mentioned, we met while deployed; serving in the Navy last year. At the time of our deployment, Peter and I were both dating separate people. Now before you get all carried away with thoughts that we were unfaithful, just know that we weren’t.
I believe that we’ve always been two hopeless romantics, showing love, looking for that same love in return but just couldn’t find the right source for us.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret anyone I’ve dated. I believe that everyone enters our lives for a reason, to teach us something, to bring us companionship even, and it’s not something to regret if it doesn’t work out with that person. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
Before Peter, I can honestly say that I’ve never been in a relationship that was easy. I used to have to convince a guy that I was worth dating. The truth is they were emotionally unavailable, and I didn’t want to accept that.
Back to Petey and I.
The first time I remember an official encounter with Peter, we were on the shuttle to the NEX when my friend asked him to write us a workout. At the time peter also had this rather awful mustache. My friend asked him why he had said mustache and he said it’s the keep the girls away. Jokingly of course, let’s be real there weren’t that many girls readily available. I rolled my eyes, nonetheless.
We talked a little about his relationship, and my relationship, you know, it was very polite and casual.
Throughout our deployment, we were friends. We would talk often about our relationships, things that were going great and things that weren’t. We did have one thought in common, both questioning whether or not we can envision ourselves being with that person long term. I then realized that being away is a great time to reflect on what you want, think about yourself, there’s a lot of self-identifying and improvement that happens when you’re alone.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact time that I began having a crush on Peter. I think it was the combination of working out together every day, doing puzzles together in the kitchen on Sundays, going to church together, also peter was quite the athlete, he would play softball once or twice a week and I would go to his games to offer friendly support.
Innocently, I began to know Peter, and it was so apparent that he was just an amazing person. Just a phenomenal man. I remember I used to watch him at the chow hall saying his grace before every meal. Also, he was just the friendliest guy there. He would converse with everyone and always in the nicest way. It was really hard not to have a crush on him. I played it cool though, I kept my distance and exercised self-control.
But I was falling for him! Falling hard!
We went to church one Sunday and I remember worshiping, I was standing singing and I just wanted to hold his hand more than anything. You see, Peter had this inviting calmness about him. Whenever I had an issue or needed to vent, he was there to listen. Working out with him was always fun to look forward to.
I thought about trying to maintain the long-distance relationship I was in. But the thought that I couldn’t see myself doing life with him, just didn’t sit well with me. Plus, it wasn’t fair to keep it going if I was beginning to have strong feelings for someone else.
Now at the time I didn’t know if Peter shared the same feelings, but it didn’t matter. Once I started liking him the way I did, I knew that it just wouldn’t be right to keep that relationship going that much longer.
The day before the hike that started it all off, we went to the NEX to browse, see if we could find anything fun. We ended up finding nerf guns and of course we had to get them. There we were like Texas ranger kids running around the base shooting one another. Peter came up with this game. He said if I shoot you, then I’ll tell you the compliment you have to tell me. I should’ve known then that he had a crush too, but I was so naïve I didn’t think of it. Let’s just say he shot me all the time. Then he’d make me give him a compliment like “Peter you’re very good to look at.” Something super corny but cute. To be fair I was thinking them all, so I didn’t mind it.
That Sunday evening, we were in the kitchen doing our usual Sunday puzzles. It was three of us, some snacks and good ole country music. I remember hearing him sing and we would just have the best time talking about random things. Miranda Lamberts song “the house that built me” played and for the first time I saw him get emotional, completely vulnerable. It really meant a lot to me to hear him talk about how amazing his childhood was, and going down memory lane, it was truly such a blessing that he became so comfortable around me.
That next day we went for our hike. Originally, we planned for a group hike, but it ended up just being Peter and I.
I didn’t mind it at all.
We walked and played our nerf gun game, I wrote the note on the bench, ran for dear life, and that’s really how it got started. When Peter caught up with me and we talked about the note on the bench, we walked and talked for a little, just about how we shared the same feelings.
Then he shot me, for this compliment he said, Ok Sherene, I want you to say, “Peter, I wish you didn’t have a girlfriend.” I was shocked, happy, trying to keep my cool, I walked up to him and said in my most serious voice, “Peter, honestly, I wish we were both single right now.”
I had to break it off with the guy I was dating at the time.
Breaking up was hard but I knew I had to, and I did.
Peter came by my room that evening after our hike with a letter. Before I was able to read the letter, we sat outside and talked for a while. We talked and prayed and then went our separate ways because we had our 0430 workout in the morning.
I remember reading his letter and blushing, it was so great. He said he was thankful for puzzles, nerf guns and church because they helped bring us to where we were that day, holding hands, flirting, and praying together.
That night I wrote a letter back, the first of many letters we exchanged, it was so great.
That next morning, we skipped our workout. Instead, we hopped in the truck and headed down to the beach at 0430 in the morning, dark and early and we danced. Sure, it’s corny and movie like but it was just the best thing! We slow danced to Fix you by cold play. I just remembered feeling so free and comfortable. I could close my eyes and just sway with him. The best feeling.
self-control Sherene… self-control, after-all he did have a girlfriend.
That day we talked about self-control and not crossing the lines. Peter wanted to do what he thought was right. The gentleman thing to do. He wanted to speak to her in person and was planning to do so when he took leave that was planned a few weeks later.
I accepted that, and I also accepted that he could possibly change his mind and not break it off. I remembered thinking about a quote from Tyler Perry’s movie The Family that Preys, “you can’t make yourself happy by bringing misery to other people.” I had to make sure that he wanted to break it off, not just to be with me. But that he actually wanted to, and that he did it in a way that she didn’t feel betrayed or cheated on.
We continued to pray with and for each other. We prayed for self-control and for God to direct us.
A few days later he wrote me a letter, he told me that he had to break things off with her, and he couldn’t wait to do it in person. I was both nervous and excited. I knew that I had strong feelings for him, but I had to tell myself that I would’ve been okay if he wasn’t for me. I was both nervous and relieved when he told me broke up with her.
The following day he asked me to be his girlfriend.
I must say it was a little unusual for me. Normally I would be “talking” to a guy for months, going on dates here or there and then I would ask the inevitable “what are we?” question. Then we’d argue about exclusivity and fear of titles then I’d have to talk my qualifications for this relationship as if it’s a job interview. Just a mess.
But not with Peter. He knew what he wanted. I didn’t have to try to convince him that being with me was a good idea. No fighting, no crying, no self-doubt or questions if I’m good enough. With Peter, I knew I was!
For a long time, my quest to find the one was misconstrued with my quest for validation. “Why doesn’t he want me?” “Why am I not good enough?” I wanted to hear someone say that I was worthy enough of their love. My insecurities clouded my judgement and for some reason I felt that being single meant that something was wrong. I was wrong. If I could go back to my younger self, or even write her a letter, I would tell her that she is worthy of love no matter what some boy says. She shouldn’t worry so much about being single, it’s a great time for self-love and discovery. Finding Love shouldn’t be a quest or a task. It shouldn’t be hard. I’d tell her to stop crying. I’d try my best to convince her to be strong and patient. I’d tell her that she’s gonna meet Peter, the man of her dreams when she least expects it. Love should be kind, accepting, natural. You should be free to be genuinely you.